More than 400k evacuate SC as Florence approaches

Steve Shumake Red Cross disaster action team coordinator shows one of the trucks that is used to distribute supplies to Lee Sumter and Clarendon counties

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Virginia and Georgia are also under states of emergency, but it's North and SC that are positioned to suffer the worst of the storm's wrath. "We have a safe basement and generator that comes on automatically".

In Virginia, 245,000 coastal residents were told to flee. All of the transferred patients will stay at Memorial until they are ready for discharge or until they can go back to the transferring hospital. "You need to go on and get out now".

The centre of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday.

The hurricane center also said the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rains could trigger landslides in the western part of his state.

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned against complacency.

Petrol stations in the area are reporting shortages and energy companies predict that one to three million homes and businesses may lose power.

At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Cooper said, with more facilities being opened.

The shelter had been set up in a school and was offering temporary refugee from the elements to around 400 people on Thursday, although it had a capacity for up to 1,200 in the popular seaside resort.

While Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, it remains unpredictable according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year.

"We can not underestimate this storm".

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the country's Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year.

A weather channel has painted a confronting picture of the worst case scenario for Hurricane Florence, which is now hitting the east coast of the United States. Some of the few people still left in Nags Head on the Outer Banks took photos of angry waves topped with white froth.

Palm-trees blow in the wind as the outer bands of Hurricane Florence make landfall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on September 13, 2018.

"We may be facing a situation where hurricane-force winds are weaker than anticipated but perhaps impacting a slightly broader region than once thought", he said.

The tropical cyclone is expected to unload 10 trillion gallons of rainfall in North Carolina, meteorologist Ryan Maue said. That's enough water to fill the Empire State Building almost 40,000 times. GETTY IMAGES |AFPAbout 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by what officials called a "once in a lifetime" storm. The city said early Friday that two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way.

A mother and baby were killed after a tree fell on the family's Wilmington, NC house during the storm.

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